Practical vs. Beautiful

I consume a lot of online content. I always have. Part of the reason is that I have worked at online companies for a lot of years. Sometimes my job is to consume that online content and a lot of times it’s because I know what goes into creating that content so I’m interested in what other people and companies are creating.

A lot of the online content I consume is for inspiration for my own work. However, I struggle with some of the projects I find because there can often be a lack of practical application to them. They are gorgeous. I fall in love with the fabulously staged photos with everyone else, but when I start thinking about how I can apply that to my space, I realize that they may not be realistic or functional in a way I need it to be.

See that wicker barrel chair? I let myself get talked into that, even though I never liked it, because it was right for the decor of the moment. It has turned out to be the most uncomfortable chair that no one likes to sit in. I’m finally getting rid of it. I’d rather have no chair than one I hate and that hurts to sit in!

I don’t think this is unusual or even specific to crafting and DIY. If you think about the fashion industry, a LOT of what looks so incredible on the pages of magazines or on the runway would never be anything anyone could wear to go fill the car up with gas or for cleaning out the cat box. When I watch my favorite car show, the cars they feature and love to talk about are ridiculous to consider for the vehicle you would drive while you are in traffic or for the three mile drive to work.

Photo courtesty of

Photo courtesy of


Most of what industries show off is their coolest and most innovative but that doesn’t mean it is the most practical or helpful (sometimes, they are the opposite). The thing is, when I’m online, I’m also looking for that inspiration I can implement right now and have it make my life easier. Prettier is cool, but it isn’t my first priority.

I’ve mentioned a few times that I don’t stage my photos and maybe that is a mistake. I could certainly make prettier images by sweeping all the surfaces clean except for a cunning little vase and antique book but realistically, that space is for the bowl that holds my car keys or I need to have the toaster out in the picture because I use it every day. I’m interested in sharing that convergence of pretty and truly practical.

Yup, there are my paper towels and the scrubber sponge. As well as the bamboo plant Scarlet kitty has chewed down to nubs.

Part of it may be in defiance of spaces I see that people have staged when I know they have four kids but somehow, everything looks like a magazine ad. I’m not criticizing this. Creating online content is a ton of work and they even go the extra mile by creating compelling, design images. I’m just interested in seeing this stuff in action. I love seeing the messy shoes piled up by the front door. I find that endearing. I love seeing the sticky hand prints on the counter with knives and cups in the sink. That’s living with a family. I’m not as interested in an edited version of a life. I like the warts.

My favorite picture of the kitchen because you can see all the dog bowls and the filthy ball. Striker loves that ball so much and carries it around in his mouth everywhere.

I’ve been looking for some ideas for doing over my desk. It’s a very simple desk but it kind of needs an update. I think the cherry and black metal is done. I went in search of some desk make overs and found a TON of pictures and projects but everything seemed to be style over substance.

Don’t get me wrong, they were gorgeous! Almost none of them were something I could do to my desk and keep it a practical work space. I got a few ideas but mostly I came away wondering if they could even be used as a desk. As cute as a chalkboard top is, the chalk dust would get all over your arms and clothes and I’m certain my arms would start to discolor the chalk paint after a while.

This boils down to supporting something I thought when I started this site. I want to focus on the space around us that is the most used, beat up, and serving as the backdrop for our every day lives. I want things to be beautiful but mostly I want them to be useful. I like creating something so helpful and loved that it is worn out and needs to be replaced. I want a space that is so comfortable to be around that people kick off their shoes because they are making themselves at home, not protecting the painted floor.

I want to look at that space called real life.

Design by dogs.


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5 Responses to Practical vs. Beautiful

  1. Amy says:

    That applies to so many other areas of life. Love the Burberry purses. Who sees the Burberry purse? As a writer in real life and my day job, I’m sequestered to my cube/laptop. My friends honestly don’t care if I have one, and if I did flash the one I had, people would find me ridiculous. The leather Cole Haan that I scored at a second hand store does the trick, and ironically, gets envious gazes and compliments. After you separate the flash from real life, real life becomes so much more manageable.

    • LoveThisSpace says:

      Agreed, although one of the best purses I have is my Burberry. It has just the right amount of pockets and the right length of handles. It has also lasted FOREVER. So if you manage to score the beautiful that also meets the practical needs then you win!

  2. Scaloot says:

    love the design by dogs – I so relate. I love beautiful things, then I think of how hard to clean/keep clean, comfortable or not and opt for the practical. Yep, my current recliner is really sad – cats got at it quite a while ago on the back corner (bad cat sitter ignored them) but it is still comfy and most of the time I have a lap full of fur kids – don’t see that in those nicely designed photos!

    • LoveThisSpace says:

      I think there is something sweet about those well-loved recliners. I don’t understand hiding the things we love and use for the sake of a pretty picture. I say, be proud of that recliner! And when are they going to come up with a recliner that has that hempy twine the kitties can scratch to their heart’s content? Maybe that should be our next project?

    • amelda says:

      beautiful design, with an attractive room design brings a harmonious family

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